Living into the Seasons

 

Today I am writing from the beautiful Reisterstown, MD. It is a beautiful fall day in Maryland, which reminds me how much I enjoy seasons.

In thinking about what I wanted to share today, the idea of seasons and change really resonated with me. With seasons, there is typically change. In the Mid Atlantic, the part of the country in which I grew up, there is four seasons and with each season something different is revealed about your surroundings. If you were standing in the woods in the middle of winter, you might be able to see forever because the trees have lost their leaves. There also could be snow on the ground, covering much of the woods floor with a white carpet that makes every inch look like the last. If you were to return to the woods three months later, in the middle of spring, the once bear trees would be covered in flowers and leaves that would obstruct your once clear view. Similarly, the woods floor that seemed so uniform would now be covered in small plants and brush, making every foot something new to take in. If you didn’t know better, you would almost think you were in a completely different place. Seasons have a tendency to do this to our surroundings and to our lives. Much like our environment, our lives have seasons as well. As we get older or circumstances change, our lives begin to change as well and what looked familiar suddenly appears to be completely different. I believe it is in these moments that God reveals important things about ourselves that we may never have realized if we stayed in “one season” forever.

I believe this was true in the life of Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. When Peter first met Jesus, he was a fishermen and more than likely believed that would be his trade for the rest of his life. As we read in Matthew 4:19, however, Jesus called Peter to something different saying “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (NIV 1984). In that moment, Peter’s life changed and he began to see, through Christ’s leading, that he was called to something far different than he believed. As we read the Gospels, we can see how Peter became a leader and a risk-taker. We will never know if Peter would have realized these things about himself without Jesus stepping into his life and changing its direction, but I would venture to guess the answer is no. At the end of Jesus’ ministry, as Jesus is headed to the Cross, we see Peter deny Jesus three times and then, later go back to fishing. The picture had again changed for Peter. Jesus, however, didn’t leave Peter there. If we turn to John 21, we can read about Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter and Jesus calling Peter to “take care of his sheep”. In this moment and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s life again looked completely different. All you have to do is turn to the next book in the Bible, the Book of Acts, to see the change. I believe in this “change of the season” another part of Peter and the calling on his life was revealed that may not have otherwise.

I believe this is true with us as well. Sometimes we need to move, or be moved, into a new season in our life to see parts of who God made us to be that we previously obstructed. It is in these times that God gives us a different picture of ourselves and, possibly, a different picture of what he is calling us to. Sometimes the new season can seem incredibly unfamiliar and unsettling, but they also can be the greatest catalyst to change and to living into the person God created us to be. I know this has been true in my life, especially in my move to Nicaragua. God has used the times that I have looked around and realized I didn’t have the full picture of my life to move me forward and change me. If you are in a new season of life, I would encourage you to examine yourself and to ask God to reveal what He has for you to learn in this unfamiliar territory. It could just change your life.

I am excited for God to continue to lead me and grow me through this new season of my life. I hope this can be true of you too.

-James Belt

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